Rosendale sets up messy GOP primary in a must-win state

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) launched a Senate bid on Friday and created a messy Republican primary in a must-win state — a move that Senate GOP leaders had been trying to prevent for months.

Rosendale, a conservative hardliner who joined seven other Republicans to depose Kevin McCarthy last year, had told colleagues for months that he planned to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to a rematch. The pitched opposition from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or its recruitment of a wealthy military veteran did not deter him.

His entrance into the race ahead of the June primary sets up a heated brawl with Tim Sheehy, a former Navy SEAL-turned-aerial firefighter who boasts an endorsement from NRSC Chair Steve Daines, a fellow Montanan. Rosendale has derided Sheehy as the handpicked candidate of the D.C. elite.

“I’m running against the Washington establishment — against Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell,” Rosendale said in an announcement video. He attacked his primary opponent for donating to former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s campaign. Rosendale said he “stood

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